Last month, on 17 April, I was invited to attend the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW
)'s annual Cloud accounting event - Winning business in the cloud: reap the benefits of SaaS
. A great title with with the promise of making the case for deploying Cloud. The hashtag for the event was #icaewcloud
- it's now at the stage that if your event hasn't got a hashtag, you're missing out in a big way. Actually this event was generally good, except for one presenter who was well off message, and with whom I have to take issue - more on that later. First I have to disclose that ICAEW is one of my biggest customers (we provide the technology supporting their on-line community
), and that I have a huge amount of time and respect for Richard Anning
, the head of the IT Faculty. He and Paul Booth
do a good job putting on events like this one, and fostering IT Counts
which is a great resource for peer to peer technology advice in the accounting space. I should also disclose we resell Twinfield's online accounting
- they presented last year and the year before, but not this time.
Richard did a fine job chairing and ...
Last Monday I visited a data centre housed in a nuclear bunker. Visiting data centres isn't usually that inspiring - rows of server racks, cabinets with uninteruptible power supplies (UPS) and the like. This one's different, which is why I want to tell the story. Can you think of anywhere safer for your data than an underground bunker capable of withstanding nuclear attack? But I must start with two disclosures. The first is that this company is our latest customer - we're helping them with product messaging, website content and social media strategy. The second, you may know anyway, is that I'm a bit of a business geek and I never tire of doing the tour of a new company or industrial site. I'm fascinated by the way organisations set themselves up, from the layout of the office to the machinery on the "shop floor", and all the processes in between - whether it's an agency using words, design and a bit of technology to heavy manufacturing and big machines making "things" I get excited. This visit was a bit more than special though.
I've known The Bunker for years. I thought they had just picked a cool name for their ...
I've been pushing the concept of using social technologies for collaboration and connections both inside and outside of business to make companies more effective since early 2006. The naming has changed from web 2.0 to enterprise 2.0 to social business, but the concept is the same. However, when some areas of technology like smart phones or tablets have made such an impact on business in such a short space of time, why is the potential of social media in business, apart from use in external marketing and customer support, still largely unrealized? I believe it's the C word (and that's context). To explain that, three things came together over the last few weeks - a briefing session with Appian
CEO Matthew Calkins
, a blog post from Sigurd Rinde
about the fallacy of the Information Age and the need to move to a better framework, and one from Simon Wardley on flow structures
and what he explains as the move from Pioneer, to Settler, to Town Planner.
First, let me set the scene by reminding you that we've been running businesses with incomplete ERP systems for decades - they usually cover a company's core processes but leave plenty of gaps. I was reminded of some of the ...
Last week's Apple event has been widely reported in detail, but with a minimum of real analysis on the importance of the why, the how and the what being communicated. For me there were three significant aspects:
- Apple improving their leading position in the tablet business by making the leading product even better, as well as opening up a new sub segment of the market to flank the low end competition.
- The whole event demonstrating that design is still at the heart of the Apple vision.
- Showing there is life after Steve Jobs - the vision, culture and team he put in place are carrying the torch and keeping up the pace. (I wish I'd bought shares around about the time the iPod was first announced or before!)
Plenty of reporters and commentators presented most of the facts and the numbers corectly, misunderstood the pricing of the new iPad Mini thinking it too high, and then made the mistake of missing the .9 after the 7 in the size of its screen. So much technlogy reporting these days seems repetitive, regurgitating the technical specifications and processor chip models in the press release with little analysis and thought of what the technology ...
After 6 years happily thumb tapping my way around my email and messages with the real keyboard of the BlackBerry smart phone platform I defected to the Apple iPhone back in July (even though the new iPhone 5 was imminent). It's such a shame - I've been a big fan of Research In Motion's BlackBerry approach and the integrated nature of their software, but to me this highlights how even strong and successful technology companies can lose their way and loyal customers with the wrong strategy and end user experience in a very short space of time. In today's technolgy landscape, if you aren't always challenging your current product range and reinventing yourself, your toast!
Things were so different back in April 2006 when I followed Ross Mayfield's advice and replaced my Treo PDA and Sony Ericcson K700i phone with a BlackBerry 8700v smart phone, instead of the HP iPaq and Sony Ericsson P990i I had been looking at. It was great advice! I loved the simplicity of the click wheel interface and the way the email, messaging, contacts and phone functions were so elegantly integrated. It actually worked well as a phone too. Along the way I ...
We're gripped with Olympic fever here in the UK during London 2012
as you might expect. Today has been a particularly special day (4 golds, 2 silvers and a bronze so far) for Team GB taking us to our best result in over a century, but one of the highlights was a brilliant interview on BBC Breakfast TV this morning with Dave Brailsford
, the Performance Director who has revolutionised British Cycling, the team that's leading our medal charge. It has some great messages for any business that I wanted to share, so I transcribed his words with some help from my new iPhone's voice recognition.
Dave masterminded the Cycling team's amazing success in Beijing, and put together a plan to win the Tour de France in 5 years, but actually did it in 2 and a half, when Bradley Wiggins won
in such emphatic style just days before these games started. Even though the rules were changed, seemingly to make it more difficult to win as many medals, in this Olympics on road the British team has won 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, and on track 7 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze. An amazing performance. On the BBC News
this morning Sally Nugent
asked Dave - how do you ...
Back on 26 April I was asked to present "5 Key Challenges for the ISV CTO and How to Beat Them!" at a Ciklum seminar for ISVs
that intended to deliver a hype-free conversation among CTOs, Chief Technical Architects and other key executives grappling with the journey to the cloud. My slides for the session (see below) are already on Slideshare
, but they are mostly visual, so I decided to do this comprehensive (that means long right? - Ed) blog write up following the slide sequence as a companion piece. I was in good company, because the other speakers were Jimmy Gasteen of Precursive
, Liam Hogan of OpenText
and Melissa di Donato of Salesforce.com
. My pitch was intended to do three things:
- Give my perspective on the current state of the Cloud landscape
- Offer my 5 key challenges for the ISV CTO in moving to the Cloud
- Leave the audience with some practical ideas to take action straight away
The current IT landscape is pretty cloudy. IT providers are branding whatever product they have that happens to run in a datacentre somewhe as "Cloud" ...
Over here we are anticipating this year's Cloud Computing World Forum
in London, but over in the US Larry Ellison, Oracle's founder and CEO since 1977, has pivoted his position on the Cloud along with "crossing a line" to trash key competitors. Elsewhere old guard software giants like IBM are mis-communicating the Cloud messages. How does this help the the industry, the typical buyer in an SME, or the average CIO in a larger enterprise? Actually this noise generated by the old guard of IT is significant in positioning the current status of the Cloud landscape, but what we really need is some clarity of vision on the Cloud topic from the big players rather than messaging crafted at protection of their existing customer base and revenue streams.
Last Wednesday Larry announced what the Oracle press release claimed as "the "industry’s broadest and most advanced Cloud strategy"
, although on the day he actually said, "we are now announcing the most comprehensive Cloud on the planet Earth"
. This is an interesting turn around considering Larry has regularly lambasted the Cloud term. Take a look at this interview some of you may remember from ...
Earlier this week I joined a discussion group improvising on a theme around Richard Sennett's book Together
and his recent RSA talk
. I understand the book explores the nature of cooperation, the evolution of cooperative rituals through history and the politics of the tribe versus the complexity of modern society. Haven't read it - it's now on the long list. The Everything Unplugged: Learning Conversation
group meets in London every Wednesday at 10:00 at the RFH
Level 5 to discuss wide ranging topics from creativity to the learning process. This week's discussion on Sennett was titled "In a Dialogic Way
" echoing Miles Davis
. I was intrigued on three counts:
- I miss the kind of wide ranging conversations we used to have several years back at London's CreativeCoffee Club (which I founded with Toby Moores) or when the London Social Media Cafe/Tuttle Club was in its energetic heyday at the Coach and Horses or the ICA.
- The topic of cooperation is vital to the the collaboration solutions I work with and I wanted to learn more about Sennett's take.
- I don't often have philosophical discussions about dialectic argument versus the dialogic ...
After some soul searching I've just started updating my various personal profiles around the web to say I'm a social business evangelist
rather than saying enterprise 2.0
. I've got close to this before
. I wanted to explain why now. For me that terminology change is a big deal because I'm not 100% comfortable with "social business
", but it's not me rather the market that decides. If we move the clock forwards 5 years I'm sure we'll be using different language again, and I believe the way the smart companies use social media and social tools in their businesses today will be as natural and essential to any organisation as a website, email, phones or mobiles (cell phones for my US friends, handys for the Germans - language is so crucial!). I actually prefer the term "amplified enterprise
" because the terms "social business
" (as used by the likes of Dachis
, Altimeter Group
) or "social enterprise
" (as used by Salesforce
) are already occupied by a very different idea. Go ask the average, non-technology oriented bushiness person in the street and see what they say. Actually my perspective on this topic has 4 dimensions: